In this you greatly rejoice means to celebrate. It means to have a party on a relaxed basis or doing something you want to by way of celebration. The believer, through Bible doctrine, is designed to celebrate victory at a time when everything is difficult. So “in this” refers to all the principles of Bible doctrine and the multiplication of grace which we have had right up to this verse. These are the inner resources you have developed through the intake of Bible doctrine for the times of suffering or adversity. Anytime you suffer or are in adversity the doctrine that you study and absorb on a daily basis becomes the basis of celebration. This means you will be prepared for an adverse situation. The believer who is constantly making decisions from Bible doctrine stored in their soul is going to have resources in time of disaster, difficulty, heartache, problems, and so on.
For a little while is the idea that you can celebrate under conditions of great adversity, but it is something that belongs to the short time we are here on the earth. It is something you can never experience in eternity; you can experience only perfect happiness. Verse 6 and the rest of this chapter is saying that God says, “Look, I am leaving you in the devil’s world and there is something I am going to give you: the inner resources so that you, from your own free will, can choose to take from Me My very mind [Bible doctrine] which will cause you to celebrate even in great adversity.” There are two approaches to adversity. The first is human viewpoint thinking and the second is divine viewpoint thinking. We have only a short time here on earth and Bible doctrine is the thing that makes the difference in every circumstance of life. The capacity to enjoy your life is going to come from the application of Bible doctrine.
The Christian life is made up of moments. Every moment is a moment of celebration or a moment of regret and Peter will develop this. The regret moments are the mental attitude sin moments. The celebration moments are the relaxed mental attitude moments. You have in your soul the resources to make yourself miserable [mental attitude sins] or you have the resources for happiness (Bible doctrine). Your happiness does not depend upon circumstances around you. Your happiness depends upon what you are using in your soul. You are either drawing upon the resources of Bible doctrine or you are drawing upon the resources of mental attitude sinning (human viewpoint). Inevitably, if you are moving toward spiritual maturity you must take the responsibility for your own misery or your own happiness. Since the day you trusted Christ as your Savior you make your own misery or your own happiness because the issue is clear, Bible doctrine is your happiness, your capacity for life. If it isn’t Bible doctrine you are using then you are going to go on human resources and no one goes on human resources without mental attitude sins. And the resources of Bible doctrine make for perfect happiness (celebration) in the midst of any difficulty of life.
One of the manifestations of God’s love is faithfulness to you in every circumstance of life and provision for you at every point. In love God provides in the prosperity stages and He provides in adversity. You have to respond to God’s love and when you respond with positive volition your positive volition doesn’t wait for a period of suffering, it responds to God’s love daily by taking in Bible doctrine. And if you have taken in doctrine and metabolized it and built an edification complex in your soul there will be a time of celebration even when you hit a time of suffering. But if you are negative toward God’s love and you have not responded to it then you have nothing to celebrate. And inevitably you will go back on human resources which, as Peter will emphasize, are mental attitude sins. People compensate in their souls by the use of mental attitude sins. That is why it says in Hebrews, “Let no root of bitterness spring up” — a root of bitterness springing up is a human resource; bitterness is a mental attitude sin.
The Greek word for distress is “lupeo,” which means to be in suffering or to be in pain. There will be times when you will be in suffering. And you can draw upon divine resources only if they are available, otherwise you will inevitably draw upon human resources and when you habitually draw upon human resources you habitually compound suffering (self-induced misery). You have made a series of decisions not to take in Bible doctrine and therefore having made decision after decision, when the suffering comes you are going to use human resources because you have no divine resources. And using human resources means that you are going to compound and intensify the suffering and you are going to turn it into cursing. Man turns suffering into cursing; that is compatible with man’s character. God turns suffering into blessing which is compatible with His character. There are no divine resources unless you have Bible doctrine stored in your soul.
Peter is talking about having the inner resources and, as a result, being able to celebrate in time of distress and suffering. At the point of time when the suffering hits instead of going to human resources and compounding the suffering, you come up with celebration based on the Bible doctrine you have in your soul.
The Greek word for proof is “dokimion,” which means to prove you have faith to pass the test. The testing refers to that by which anything is tested, it means testing for a purpose. Testing is designed to “prove your faith.” Proving your faith is much more precious, or literally, of greater value than gold. It is passing the testing that is of greater value. So suffering can be of greater value than gold if you have the resources of Bible doctrine in your soul. Gold perishes but Bible doctrine stored and circulating in your soul doesn’t. Which is of greater value, the inner resources of Bible doctrine or money? Gold is here today and gone tomorrow; doctrine is permanent. When you “spend” doctrine you still have doctrine! However, there is a way you can throw it away - by neglect. So the resources of Bible doctrine are infinitely of more value than gold.
Even though tested by fire refers to the proving of your faith. It means to test for the purpose of blessing and it always works that way when you use Bible doctrine. When you receive the testing and have Bible doctrine in your soul to draw upon, you will be able to celebrate God’s magnificent provision of grace for you. God has the privilege of demonstrating His love for you under the most adverse of circumstances. And you give your love to God daily when you take in Bible doctrine. But it must be freely given and it must be on the basis of your volition.
When you are learning to love the Lord Jesus Christ by the daily intake of Bible doctrine then you are going to notice something. You are going to reflect His glory. When you celebrate in adversity you are reflecting the glory of God. Proving your faith by means of the intake and application of Bible doctrine results in glorifying God.
When the Lord Jesus Christ returns for you, if you have passed the tests that have come your way, it will result in praise, glory and honor. You respond to God and God, as it were, applauds you. The Greek word “epainos” for praise was originally used for applause. Eventually it came to mean commendation, approval, and so on. It really means approval by applause. So the principle here is that there is some unheard, unseen applause in Heaven when a believer passes the test of adversity.
The next word is glory which is the Greek word “doxa” meaning God is glorified by you from your positive volition taking in doctrine daily and then using it. That is reflected glory. When the disaster hits; you reflect the glory of God. You are going to always reflect the glory of God through using His resources and responding to His love at a point of suffering. This is glory of the highest value and it describes rewards in all eternity. You will reflect the glory of God forever for something that occurred in time.
The Greek word for honor is “time,” which means value. The value is in passing the test of adversity and reflecting the glory of God for all eternity. Execution of the Christian Way of Life brings eternal rewards and part of that execution involves passing the tests of suffering and adversity that we encounter.